Courier Life’s

Where have you gone, eight-tracks, cassettes, batamaxes, and VCRs?

Jo takes a trip down memory lane

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Recently, my hubby Bob went into a PC Richards to buy a DVD player for our television. Maybe the sun was too strong, maybe he was tired, or maybe he was just having a flashback to the good old 1980s, but when he went into the store, he asked the sales guy for a VCR.

The young whippersnapper looked at him like he was speaking a foreign tongue. When Bob realized his faux pas, he corrected himself and said “I mean a DVD player.” Another customer, a lady of a certain age, overheard the error and replied, “I miss those days.”

Me too! This brings me to my own mussing of things gone the way of short-shorts in the last 30 years.

I decided to jump into that 1970 red Cutlass Supreme, that belonged to my friend Lori Pasini, and the one that I took my road test in, to take a trip down memory lane. I’d say strap on those seatbelts but they weren’t standard then, so let’s just put the pedal to the metal and cruise.

How great was it to sit in the Avenue U movie theater and watch a classic in technicolor and cinemascope? The colors were so vivid you thought you were looking through a window. And you only paid $5 bucks for a double feature. Of course the techniques have faded faster than yesterdays’ news and now our movie experiences are 3D, 4D, surround sound, and simulator seats, with CGI creations that have buried stop-motion claymation in the family plot. And we pay a small fortune to see them. I don’t know how much, but I know I can’t afford it.

Let’s not forget the VCR, the crux of this column, and Betamax, that recorded and played in living rooms all across the country. Now we Netflix-stream, WiFi, and DVR.

There’s another bunch lost — Victrolas, stereos, and record players with needles, styles, and big Cerwin-Vega speakers, replaced by CDs and tiny surround-sound speaker systems that have no right being so loud.

Cassette tapes, eight-track decks, and the once-ubiquitous Walkman were replaced by MP3 players smaller than a pack of gum or integrated into our smartphones — and holding a heck of a lot more music, which means too much for me to handle.

Digital readers — which only have one page — have replaced real live books with their many pages, leather spines, and gold lettering.

And where did those triangular, fly-vent windows on cars go? I thought they were the single greatest invention (besides a cassette player in the dashboard). You could open that vent window just a little bit, still felt the fresh air, but you weren’t blown away by gale force winds at 90 miles per-hour. That really came in handy when protecting those long gone set, sprayed, and teased hairdos.

Ah, Not for Nuthin™, but flying down the turnpike in that gas guzzling, eight-cylinder, Cutlass Supreme with the radio blaring my favorite album — by one band — was what I call a road trip!

Follow me on Twitter @JDelBuono.

Joanna DelBuono rights about national issues — and nostaglia — every Wednesday on E-mail her at

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